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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Meet the CIA's torture architect whose firm was paid $80 million by taxpayers

© US Department of Defense

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay

James Elmer Mitchell, a former Air Force psychologist credited with teaching the CIA how to torture war on terror detainees in the 2000s, is the subject of an on-camera interview with VICE correspondent Kaj Larsen.

This isn't the first time Dr. Mitchell has been profiled. We first heard about him in a 2005 article, the , and the have explored the role he and Dr. Bruce Jessen played in designing the CIA's "Enhanced Interrogation Program."

But VICE got him on camera for a sitdown interview for the first time. When you watch it, remember: the contracting firm this man ran with Jessen is said to have received more than $80 million from the CIA to teach the CIA how to torture people . And some of that torture included anal rape, freezing people to death , and shoving hummus and nuts up men's asses .

Oh, and taxpayers covered $5 million in legal fees to then cover Mitchell and Jessen's own asses.

Mitchell repeatedly refers to the book , by James Rodriguez, who defends the torture tactics Mitchell and his colleagues designed.

Just yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 500-page summary report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein says the document represents the most significant oversight effort in the history of the US Senate.

From the Vice video introduction:

The $40 million, five-year study concluded that CIA officials exaggerated the value of the intelligence they gleaned from dozens of "high-value detainees" held at black site prisons, where they were subjected to so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The committee reviewed more than 6 million pages of top-secret CIA documents and found that the architect of the interrogation program was a retired Air Force psychologist named James Mitchell, an agency contractor who - according to news reports - personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Senate report does not identify Mitchell by name. He is referred to as "Contractor A" throughout the executive summary.

Mitchell has a signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA and was unable to discuss his alleged role in the agency's enhanced interrogation program, but VICE News met up with him in suburban Florida to discuss the Senate's report and one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror. This is the first time Mitchell has ever appeared on camera.

Kaj Larsen, the Vice correspondent who conducted this interview with Mitchell, was the first (or one of the first) TV journalists to submit to being waterboarded on camera, as a way of showing the American public what the technique is. This video contains footage of that incident, which viewers may find disturbing.

[embedded content]

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Arizona Congressman refers to Native Americans as "wards of the federal government"

© Reuters / Adrees Latif

In an Arizona community meeting, Rep. Paul Gosar made a controversial remark that offended Native Americans in attendance and across the country when he called them 'wards of the federal government'.

The Republican representative, as well as one of his Democratic counterparts, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, held a roundtable discussion in the northern Arizona city of Flagstaff. The legislators were defending a contentious land-swap bill that they co-sponsored. The language was absorbed into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the House of Representatives passed last Thursday.

At the meeting, Phil Stago, a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, called the bill disrespectful to tribal sovereignty.

"I don't like our ancestral lands being raided by the US Congress," he said, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

Gosar responded that archaeological and historical investigations had found no documented proof that the area was sacred to the Apache Tribe. In response to Stago's sovereignty concerns he said,"You're still wards of the federal government."

Stago told the Associated Press that the phrase is antiquated and ignores advances made in tribes managing their own affairs and seeking equal representation when it comes to projects proposed on land they consider sacred.

"He kind of revealed the truth - the true deep feeling of the federal government: 'Tribes, you can call yourselves sovereign nations, but when it comes down to the final test, you're not really sovereign because we still have plenary authority over you'," Stago said.

Gosar spokesman Steven Smith said that wasn't the congressman's intent. Arizona's 4th Congressional District includes constituents from Apache tribes.

"If that's what he got out of that, I think it's misconstrued," Smith said to AP. "If you look at the work the congressman has done, that's far from the truth."

Smith added that Gosar has been an advocate for strengthening the relationship between tribes and the federal government, including sponsoring legislation to do just that.

The Arizona representative's "wards of the federal government" comment was true once upon a time... nearly two centuries ago. In the Supreme Court's 1831 decision in , Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that Native American tribes be named "domestic dependent nations" because they "look to our government for protection; rely upon its kindness and its power; appeal to it for relief to their wants; and address the President as their great father."

But the US has been moving away from that position for the past nine decades. Indeed, the Indian Commerce Clause of the US Constitution recognizes that tribal governments are sovereign nations. This was reiterated with the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, which declared Native Americans to be US citizens.

Regardless of whether tribes are considered sovereign nations or domestic dependent nations, the tribal members themselves were never considered wards of the government. To do so "treats them differently than every other American," according to Indianz.com, a website that provides news "from a Native American perspective."

However, the federal government ‒ through the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs ‒ still maintains control over tribal affairs as a trustee of Native American property.

Troy Eid, a Republican and former US attorney in Colorado, told AP that the language that defines core concepts of Indian law is old and often ethnically offensive.

"That's just not appropriate," he said about Gosar's comment. "In the heated context of what this represents, it's especially inappropriate to be resorting to what amounts to race baiting."

Sam Deloria, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who served for 35 years as director of the American Indian Law Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, agreed. Calling Native Americans governmental wards "doesn't contribute much to the debate," he said.

The legislation Gosar and Kirkpatrick defended at the meeting would exchange 2,400 acres of Tonto National Forest for (located in the southeastern part of the state) for about 5,300 acres of environmentally sensitive land throughout the state controlled by Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of global mining giant Rio Tinto. The result would pave the way for the country's largest copper mine.

The Senate advanced the NDAA on Thursday, with a final vote on the bill expected no later than Friday. The land-exchange language is contained in upper house's legislation as well.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Afghan 'Bruce Lee' spins the web with his kung fu

© Reuters / Mohammad Ismail

Abbas Alizada, who calls himself the Afghan Bruce Lee

Meet Afghanistan's Bruce Lee look-alike, Abbas Alizada! The 20-year-old from Kabul, nicknamed 'Bruce Hazara,' not only bears a striking physical resemblance to the famous kung fu legend, but also manages to pull off his martial arts moves.

The young Afghan has kicked his way through the internet, gaining wide popularity through videos and photos showcasing his talents.

[embedded content]

Alizada's uncanny resemblance to the action film legend - the bowl-like haircut, physical build, and even similar clothes - made him a web hit this week.

"I want to be a champion in my country and a Hollywood star," Alizada told Reuters during an interview at Kabul's Darul Aman Palace.

The promising martial artist comes from a poor family of 10 children. His family wasn't able to provide his classes at a Chinese mixed martial arts academy, but the trainer saw Alizada's diligence and agreed to train him for free. The young man trains there twice a week, perfecting nunchaku techniques and sparring with partners.

Alizada has over 50,000 followers on Twitter, where he posts pictures of himself striking Lee's poses in front of Afghan landscapes.

Afghanistan is torn by internal conflict between the country's NATO-supported army and Taliban insurgents.

"The destruction here makes me sad, but it also inspires me," said Alizada, adding that "the only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war...I am happy that my story is a positive one."

© Reuters / Mohammad Ismail

Abbas Alizada, who calls himself the Afghan Bruce Lee

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Dmitry Orlov: For the USA, defeat is victory, ignorance is strength

© Humansarefree.com

On the wall of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth from his novel there were three slogans:




It occurred to me that these apply just a little bit too well to the way the Washington, DC establishment operates.

War certainly is peace: just look at how peaceful Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine have become thanks to their peacemaking efforts. The only departures from absolute peacefulness which might be taking place there have to do with the fact that there are some people still alive there. This should resolve itself on its own, especially in the Ukraine, where the people now face the prospect of surviving a cold winter without heat or electricity.

Freedom is indeed slavery: to enjoy their "freedom," Americans spend most of their lives working off debt, be it a mortgage, medical debt incurred due to an illness, or student loans. Alternatively, they can also enjoy it by rotting in jail. They also work longer hours with less time off and worse benefits than in any other developed country, and their wages haven't increased in two generations.

And what keeps it all happening is the fact that ignorance is indeed strength; if it wasn't for the Americans' overwhelming, willful ignorance of both their own affairs and the world at large, they would have rebelled by now, and the whole house of cards would have come tumbling down.

But there is a fourth slogan they need to add to the wall of Washington's Ministry of Truth. It is this:

Defeat Is Victory

The preposterous nature of the first three slogans can be finessed away in various ways. It's awkward to claim that American involvements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria or the Ukraine have produced "peace," exactly, but various lying officials and assorted national teletubbies still find it possible to claim that they somehow averted worse (totally made-up) dangers like Iraqi/Syrian "weapons of mass destruction." What they have produced is endless war financed by runaway debt which is leading to economic ruin. But helps a lot here.

Likewise, it is possible, though a bit awkward, to claim that slavery is freedom - because, you see, once you have discharged your duties as a slave, can go home and read whatever crazy nonsense you want on some blog or other. This is of course silly; you can stuff your head with whatever "knowledge" you like, but if you try acting on it you will quickly discover that you aren't allowed to. "Back in line, slave!" You can also take the opposite tack and claim that freedom is for layabouts while we the productive people have to rush from one scheduled activity to another, and herd our children around in the same manner, avoiding "unstructured time" like a plague, and that this is not at all like slavery. Not at all. Not even close. Nobody tells me what to do! (Looks down at smartphone to see what's next on today's to-do list).

With ignorance, you don't even have to make the case: ignorant people are some of the most knowledgeable people on earth - according to them. I see that all the time in the hundreds of blog comments I delete; ones that start with "Surely you must know that [something I don't know]" or "By now it should be clear to everyone that [something unclear]" are particularly amusing. On some days I find such ignorance almost overpowering, and so ignorance is indeed strength.

But it is very hard to claim that defeat is victory, and herein lies a great challenge for the Washington, DC establishment. When they are victorious, your leaders get to have their way with the world; when they are defeated, the world has its way with them. This is something that is hard to hide: your leaders say what it is they want to do; and then they either succeed at it or fail. When they fail, they still try to call it a success, but if you look at their original statements of purpose, and then the results, and the two don't match at all, then it looks just a bit like a defeat-ish sort of thingy no matter how they writhe and squirm and twist. This is a good thing, because with all the propaganda the Ministry of Truth puts out, it is hard for the average person to ascertain the nature of the "facts on the ground." But when it comes to victory vs. defeat, you can usually take it straight from the horse's rectum. Yes, the Ministry's public relations consultants can still claim that "we forced the enemy to give us a free deep-tissue massage of our glutei maximi," but a precocious 8th-grader can still decode that to "We got our asses kicked."

So, allow me to enumerate some American victories. Or should I say defeats? Your choice; the two are the same.

- Thanks to the trillion or so spent on the war effort, the 1.5 million Iraqi casualties, and the 5,000 dead US soldiers, there is no longer any al Qaeda in Iraq now (just like there was under Saddam Hussein) and the country is free and democratic.

- Thanks to many years of continuous effort which cost well over half a trillion dollars and the lives of 3500 or so coalition soldiers, the Taleban in Afghanistan have been vanquished and the country is now at peace.

- The Syrian regime has been overthrown and Syria is now peaceful and democratic, and not at all a war-torn basket case that has produced over a million refugees, a large part of it ruled by Islamic militants that are too radical even for al Qaeda.

- Overall, the problem of Islamic extremism has been dealt with once for all, and George W. Bush's "Islamofascists" (remember that term?) are but a vague memory. ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State are something else entirely, plus us bombing them sporadically at great expense has "degraded" them a tiny bit... maybe.

- Thanks to a perfectly legal and very necessary US-managed coup, Ukraine is on its way to being a stable and prosperous member of the EU and NATO, and the freedom-loving Ukrainians are no longer at all dependent on Russian gas, coal and nuclear fuel for being able to merely survive the winter of 2014-15, or on Russian good will to send in humanitarian relief convoys, house and feed the refugees from their civil war, or broker their peace agreements with each other.

- In accordance with our grand geopolitical strategy for eternal world domination, we successfully kicked Russia out of Crimea and are busy building a huge NATO military base there to make sure that Russia never becomes a great world power again but is forced to comply with our every whim.

- Thanks to our relentless diplomatic efforts, Russia is now completely isolated, which is why it can't be constantly signing gigantic trade agreements with countries around the world or championing the cause of non-western nations who don't like being pushed around by the west and have no desire to westernize.

- Our sanctions have really hurt Russia, and not at all the EU which didn't lose a huge export market and is not at all at risk of losing access to Russia's natural gas which it doesn't need anyway. Nor did they provide any sort of a huge protectionist benefit to Russia's domestic producers, or a big new export market to our economic rivals.

- Regime change in Moscow is a white ribbon's throw away, and our expensively nurtured political pets inside Russia are more popular than ever and are feeling all sorts of love from the Russian people. After all, fewer than 90% of Russians respect and support Putin for the great things he has achieved for them, so our stooges like Khodorkovsky or Kasparov should have no problem getting at least 1% in the next presidential elections, sending them straight into the Kremlin.

- Thanks to our relentless political pressure, Putin is now a chastised man, ready to be reasonable and bend to our will, and not at all saying things like "This will never happen!" in an internationally televised annual address to his nation's elected leaders. In any case, nobody listens to his speeches because our national media doesn't need cover them because they are so long and boring.

...and, last but not least...

- America is the world's indispensable nation, world's (second) greatest economic power (but rising fast), and American leadership is respected throughout the world. When President Obama said so in a recent speech he gave in China, the audience did not at all laugh out loud right in his face, roll their eyes, make faces or move their heads side to side slowly while frowning.

How can you avoid recognizing the importance of such things, and the fact that they spell DEFEAT? Easy! Ignorance to the rescue! Ignorance is not just strength - it is the most awesome force in the universe. Consider this: knowledge is always limited and specific, but ignorance is infinite and completely general; knowledge is hard to convey, and travels no faster than the speed of light, but ignorance is instantaneous at all points in the known and unknown universe, including alternate universes and dimensions of whose existence we are entirely ignorant. In short, there is a limit to how much you can know, but there is no limit at all to how much you don't know but think you do!

Here is something that you probably think you know. The American empire is an "empire of chaos." Yes, it sort of fails somehow to achieve peace, prosperity, democracy, stability, avert humanitarian crises, or stop lots of horrible crimes. But it does achieve chaos. What's more, it achieves a wunnerful new type of chaos just invented, called "controlled chaos." It's much better than the old kind; sort of like "clean coal" - which you can rub all over yourself, go ahead, try it! Yes, there are naysayers out there that say things like "You reap what you sow, and if you sow chaos, you shall reap chaos." I guess they just don't like chaos. To each his own. Whatever.

Want more? Consider this. If you live in the US, you probably celebrated Thanksgiving a little while ago, by gorging yourself on turkey and stuffing with cranberry sauce, and maybe some pumpkin pie. You think you know that this holiday is related to the Pilgrims, who first celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts, but I am sure you don't remember the exact year. But I am sure you think that these Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving by feasting with the natives. You might even tell your children this story, and think that you are teaching them a bit of history rather than expanding their field of ignorance.

Now, here are some points of fact. The Pilgrims weren't Pilgrims at all, but colonists. They were re-branded as "Pilgrims" in the 19th century. Believe me, nobody ever went on a pilgrimage to Plymouth, Massachusetts! These colonists ended up there because, being incompetent sailors, they missed Boston Harbor by half a day's sail, and ended up in Plymouth Harbor, which is as exposed, shoal and as useless today as it was then. They did not celebrate Thanksgiving; being weird religious zealots, they didn't even celebrate Christmas. Despite fake "evidence" from "social media" of the period, they certainly didn't feast with the locals, who by that time spoke pretty good English and traded with the world. The locals thought these colonists were a bizarre religious cult (which indeed they were), that they were lousy and smelly (they never washed and had no idea about saunas or sweat lodges) and had repulsive personal habits (such as carrying their snot around with them wrapped in a rag). They were also quite hopeless at hunting or fishing, and survived by plundering the locals' kitchen gardens, then starved. To top it off, the "national" holiday was first created by Abraham Lincoln during the height of the Civil War, which (this you must surely know!) was much, much later. And he didn't call it "Thanksgiving"; he called it "Day of Atonement" for the horrible crimes Americans were committing against each other at the time.

But that's before the Frozen Turkey Marketing Association had a go at adjusting that story. It was a plan as simple as it is brilliant: they overdose you on Tryptophan, then, next day, while you are still groggy, they send you out into an over-hyped shopping frenzy and, sure enough, you will be rack up some high-interest debt, which it will take you well into the next year to pay off. Plow some of that interest back into turkeys and holiday hype, and you have a national industry - one that drives people into debt buying imported products they don't need (remember, if doesn't say "Made in China" then it's probably fake) until everybody is broke.

With a history that fake, the American Ministry of Truth may yet manage to project it into the future as well. They may produce a level of ignorance so astonishingly high that Americans at large won't know that they have been defeated, thinking that the torrential downpour of the world's rancid slops raining down on their heads is God's rain, and being thankful for it. Unless, that is, enough Americans wake up and start making the word DEFEAT part of the national vocabulary. This is not a exceptional nation, not an indispensable nation, but a defeated one. Defeated by their own hands, mind you, because nobody particularly went out of their way to defeat them. They showed up to get beaten, over and over again, until they got what they came for.

Now, defeat has proven to be a great learning experience to many countries that then went on to be quite successful: Germany (on second try), Japan, Russia after the Cold War... Of course, the first step in that learning process is to admit defeat. But if you don't want to do that, that's OK, because there is always ignorance to give you all the strength you need.

ClubOrlov Blogspot

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Minority Congressional staffers walk out in wake of grand jury decisions

© Unknown

Some congressional staffers walked off their jobs Thursday afternoon to show their support for the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in the wake of the decision by two grand juries not to indict the police officers responsible for their deaths, according to three staffers who planned to participate in the event.

The planned walkout came after days of protests across the country, including in Washington, D.C., where demonstrators have marched through downtown, blocking roads and bridges on an almost nightly basis since last Wednesday's decision by a grand jury in Staten Island not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Garner.

"We're proud to have this moment of solidarity with the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the thousands of peaceful protesters around the country who are telling this country that black lives matter," said one staffer who was helping to plan the event.

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association was expected to join black staffers and the Congressional Black Associates in planning the event. A staffer who planned to attend the protest said it was important to show support across racial lines.

"I believe it's important, because what affects one community really affects the entire country," the staffer told CNN. "It's not just one group of minorities that's affected. How one group is treated affects Asians, Hispanics, women. It's important that we show our solidarity and come together and really speak out about the injustices that are being done."

The group will gather in front of the Capitol and plan to take a photo at 345 p.m. U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black is expected to pray for the grieving families and to pray for peace.

"We're not trying to cause any type of controversy," one staffer told CNN. "We're just trying to highlight this issue, to show solidarity with people who have been affected."

Chaplain Black has drawn attention before for his topical prayers. Last year during the budget battle that shut down the government for 16 days, he opened each session with a prayer appealing the lawmakers to end the impasse.

"Obviously, there are probably some people who feel that my prayers should not have been as pointed as they were," Black told CNN's Anderson Cooper after the shutdown had ended. "My prayers simply reflect the reality of the environment that I am in."

Black could not be reached immediately reached for comment ahead of the event.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Selling psychopathy: ISIS releases pamphlet justifying child rape, sex slaves

© AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye

The Islamic State militant group has released a guide to the capture, punishment and rape of female non-believers. It outlines how to use them as their sex slaves and also justifies child rape.

The guide appears in the form of questions and answers about how to capture and subjugate woman of other beliefs.

The sickening list appears to have been printed on December 3 by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in-house publishers for their "Research and Fatwa Department".

The document has been translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, an NGO based in Washington DC.

Researchers from the anti-extremism think tank Quilliam told the that they believed it "can be traced back to some of ISIS's most active propagandists."

It's known the Islamic State has kidnapped more than 2,500 women, and another 4,600 are missing.

In their twisted, medieval interpretation of Islam the document makes crystal clear how these woman are treated, and that such treatment is permissible because the captives are non-Muslims.

The rules then state that it's alright to rape a slave "immediately after taking possession of her" and that it is "permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn't reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse."

In the simplistic document, called 'Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves', slave woman are referred to as al-Sabi and they can only be taken from 'ahl al-harb', a group of people with whom the IS considers itself at war - in other words, anyone who doesn't follow their extreme interpretation of the Koran.

Among some of the points on the list were: "It is permissible to beat the female slave as a form of darb ta'deeb [disciplinary beating], but it is forbidden to use darb al-takseer [literally, breaking beating], [darb] al-tashaffi [beating for the purpose of achieving gratification], or [darb] al-ta'dheeb [torture beating]. Further, it is forbidden to hit the face."

While another also said "A male or female slave's running away [from their master] is among the gravest of sins..."

"The content, while it is abhorrent and shocking, is not surprising - we know that IS ideologues have justified and legitimated slavery in past publications," Charlie Winter, from the Qulliam Foundation, told the .

The pamphlet emerged at the same time as information about young British female Muslims came to light. These women have used social media to boast about joining Islamic State's terrifying all-female police force, which dole out beatings and manage brothels where thousands of Yazidi women are kept after being sold for just $42.

The Islamic State believes that Yazidis are devil worshipers and are therefore worse than 'people of the book' such as Christians and Jews, who can escape imprisonment by paying a monthly tax. Yazidis, however, are not able to pay their way out of jail.

The Yazids live in the north of Iraq and north east of Syria, who follow the ancient Yazidi religion.

The IS price list for slaves ranks the cost of a woman by age, so while a woman aged 40-50 would sell for just 50,000 dinars or $43, a girl aged 10-20 would be worth 150,000 dinars ($125) and a child under nine would sell for 200,000 dinars ($166).

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Kremlin official: West behind surge in religious extremism


© RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov

Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov

The current outburst of religious extremism is a direct consequence of the short-sighted policies of Western nations, the head of Russian Presidential Administration says.

"You all know about the serious processes that are taking place in the Middle East and North Africa, where the ethnic and confessional balance is now being blatantly destroyed," Sergey Ivanov stated on Thursday.

"First of all we must talk about the sharp surge of religious extremism that is largely a consequence of the, diplomatically speaking, shortsighted policy of a number of Western countries," he told the Presidential Council for Interaction with Religious Organizations.

"Everyone sees this very clearly," he noted.

Ivanov added that the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) was the most vivid example of the disastrous results yielded by the West's policies in the region.

The official said various religious minorities in the East - Alawites, Druze, Yazidis and Christians were all in a very vulnerable situation. "Hundreds if not thousands of Christian churches and other temples have been destroyed in Syria and Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee from their traditional dwelling places," Ivanov told the council. He gave examples of members of the Christian community in Mosul who had to hide from IS radicals in Kurdistan, saying that those who remained at home are under constant threat of death. He added that people who follow traditional Islam were also suffering from repression and threats from Islamic State.

In the same speech the Kremlin official said that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine caused many physical attacks on Russian Orthodox churches and priests, on which the Kiev authorities were turning a blind eye.

"And I would like to emphasize that this is happening in the center of educated and civilized Europe," Ivanov added.

"The illegal takeover of power that happened in Ukraine in February this year led to a very serious outburst of radicalism and caused mass violations of law, religious hatred and violence against believers," he noted.

According to Ivanov, such a situation would have been impossible if the opposing parties in Ukraine from the very beginning solved their disagreements through dialogue and without external interference.

"Russia has always supported this approach and it will continue to do so," he added.

In early November, a former general of Russian military intelligence service suggested in a press interview that the leaders of the IS could be under the direct influence of NATO and certain Western states.

"There are some grounds to suspect that American and British special services could support the Islamic extremists in order to target the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation," RIA Novosti quoted Nikolay Pushkaryov as saying.

"The top of these movements could be under the influence of NATO agents," he added.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

False-flag terror: Gladio B and the Battle for Eurasia using 'Islamic terrorists'

gladio b

'Operation Gladio B' - the continuation of the old NATO Gladio program - covers a tangled web of covert operatives, billionaire Imams, drug running, prison breaks and terror strikes. Its goal: the destabilization of Central Asia and the Caucasus. In this presentation to Studium Generale in Groningen on November 19, 2014, James Corbett lifts the lid on this operation, its covert operatives, and the secret battle for the Eurasian heartland.

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For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

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Central Asia is a vast expanse of the map whose defining characteristic is its ability to defy characterization. Stretching from the shores of the Caspian Sea in the west to the border of China in the east, and from Iran and Pakistan's doorstep in the south to Russia's in the north, it encompasses everything from the snow-capped slopes of Victory Peak in Kyrgyzstan to the remarkable "door to hell" in Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert to the sprawling grasslands of the Kazakh Steppe. Settled by migrants from the Persian, Turkic, Chinese and Slavic civilizations, its inhabitants speak Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Russian, Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen and include Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.

The much smaller Caucasus region, a narrow land bridge sandwiched between the Black and Caspian seas, is equally diverse. The region contains over 50 ethnic groups and is home to three local language families and several dozen languages, from the obscure Bohtan Neo-Aramaic tongue with less than 500 native speakers to the more widely spoken Azerbaijani and Armenian languages.

Despite the rich history and culture of the region, it is still completely off the radar screens of many in the west. "Tajikistan," "Abkhazia" and "Astrakhan Oblast" are hardly names to conjure by in the popular imagination, after all. Those names that do resonate are related to specific stories that have been given coverage in the western media; Dagestan equals "The Boston Bombing" to many Americans, for example, and many Europeans will recognize Chechnya as "that place that Russia is at war with."

Just because the -stans, Oblasts, republics and autonomous regions that make up this part of the globe are not well known to the average western citizen, however, does not mean that they are not important squares on the global chessboard. And just because they may not be on the radar of the general public does not mean they are not on the radar of some of the richest and most powerful players in global geopolitics.

As one example of this interest, I present to you the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, an organization that sounds about as important to global geopolitics as the Groningen Chamber of Commerce. But look at its list of current and former advisors, chairmen and directors: former Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush family advisor James Baker III and his son James Baker IV, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Armitage and, of course, former National Security Advisor and perennial Washington insider Zbigniew Brzezinski. This Chamber of Commerce boasts some of the most influential figures in US foreign policy in the past half century amongst its ranks. What is it they see that the general public doesn't?

There are two answers to that question. The first is the old real estate sales line: location, location, location! The region's key location in the backyard of some of the key powers of the Eurasian landmass, Russia and China foremost amongst them, has made it a geostrategic prize stretching back thousands of years. Dominated at different times and in varying degrees by Persian empires, Chinese dynasties, Mongol invaders and Soviet forces, the region has a rich history of being acted upon and a relatively short history as a geopolitical actor in its own right. Its position has long made it a key transport route, from the Han Dynasty's famed Silk Road connecting China and Persia thousands of years ago to President Xi Jinping's 21st century equivalent seeking to connect China to Turkey and beyond.

But more important even than its location and strategic value are the region's vast, largely untapped resources. The oil and gas fields of the Caspian Sea region are particularly sought after, containing the third-largest reserves of any fields on the planet. Azerbaijan in the Caucasus and Kazakhstan in Central Asia both have direct access to Caspian Sea oil, with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan providing ample gas reserves. The dream of a Trans-Caspian pipeline has been in the works for years now to transport Central Asian reserves across to the Southern Caucasus and the so-called "BTC" pipeline funneling the energy through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey has been equally prized as a way for Europe to find an alternative to Russia's increasingly-threatening stranglehold over energy known as Gazprom. The region also contains strategically important deposits of uranium as well as industrially useful minerals including copper, manganese, turngsten and zinc.

Another equally important, although seldom acknowledged, resource in the region revolves around the extensive opium trade, especially in Afghanistan. The Afghan opium trade is estimated to bring in as much as $200 billion a year, accounting for as much as 92% of the world supply. As we shall see, control of this region involves domination of that especially lucrative business and all of the attendant economic benefits that result from it.

The importance of a long-term US presence in the region to establish western dominance over this location and its resources is no secret. It has been written about extensively by the think tanks that typically serve as the mouthpiece for NATO's foreign policy interests.

Take for example a 1992 analysis of the region from RAND's National Defense Research Institute entitled "Central Asia: The New Geopolitics." It was written shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union while the newly independent republics of the region were still orienting themselves to their new geopolitical reality and it was penned by Graham Fuller, a former CIA station chief in Kabul whose name will come up again later in our study. He wrote:

"It is primarily Central Asia's strategic geopolitical location - truly at the continent's center - and the broadly undesirable course of events that could emerge if the region were to drift toward instability, that constitute the primary American interest (in the region).[...]Thus, given the potential for untoward developments in the region for Western interests, modest hands-on American influence in the region is desirable."

By 2004 the need for this "modest hands on American influence" had gained momentum. In an article published that year by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs called "The United States and Central Asia: In the Steppes to Stay?" Svante E. Cornell of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute raised some of the key reasons for increasing US involvement in the region:

"As US engagement in Central Asia becomes more permanent, it will increasingly become a factor in both regional politics and the domestic politics of the several Central Asian countries. That role raises a host of questions. Chief among them is how regional powers such as Russia and China will react to the US presence. A second concerns the implications both for the political development among the region's states and for the future of radical Islam."

And in 2011 the Project 2049 Institute, which includes Zbigniew Brzezinski's son on its Board of Directors, published a document proclaiming "An Agenda For the Future of U.S. - Central Asia Relations" which contains this interesting passage:

"U.S. policymakers have been careful to avoid the metaphor of a "Great Game" in Central Asia. Yet it has been often invoked by others, not least by observers in Moscow, Beijing, and other neighboring powers. The U.S. must continue to reject this metaphor, for such notions are based on flawed assumptions and fraught with risks for the United States."


So what is this "Great Game" metaphor that is so upsetting to the Western establishment? The "Great Game" refers to the struggle for supremacy between the British and the Russians. The Game broadly took place from the signing of the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813 until the Anglo-Russian convention of 1907, but although the term was coined in the early 19th century it didn't hit the popular imagination until Rudyard Kipling's Kim was published in 1901. It was three years after that, in 1904, that The Geographical Journal published an article that articulated the reason that these great powers were engaged in the struggle for this piece of the globe.

The article was called "The Geographical Pivot of History" and was written by Sir Halford John Mackinder PC, the Director of the London School of Economics that was founded by the Fabian Society and folded into the heart of the British establishment in the University of London in 1900. (The cornerstone of the School's Old Building on Houghton Street was laid by King George V himself). Mackinder is considered the father of the study of geopolitics.

"The Geographical Pivot of History" is the document that is often said to be the founding document of geopolitics and constitutes the first formulation of what would come to be called the "Heartland Theory." This theory starts from the division of what Mackinder called the "World Island" into inherently divided isolated areas. Each of these areas has its own part to play in the unfolding of world history, with the area he called the "Heartland" of the central Eurasian landmass being the pivot point from which a civilization could derive the geopolitical and economic leverage with which to dominate the world as a whole. This was summarized in a famous dictum from his 1919 work, Democratic Ideals and Reality

"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;

Who rules the World-Island commands the World."

Looking at the map of what Mackinder had in mind for the Heartland it's apparent that the "heart" of this Heartland is indeed the Central Asia-Caucasus region. This is what Russia and Britain were so intent on wresting from each other in the 19th century Great Game: control of the region from which the building of a world empire would be possible. And this is why the Project 2049 Institute and others desperately want to downplay this idea. They don't under any circumstances want anyone to believe that the US and its NATO allies are intent on regional domination or the formation of a world empire.

But fast forward to 1997. In that year, Zbigniew Brzezinski released his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives (evidently Brzezinski wasn't so shy about calling world domination for what it is). Brzezinski does not mince words about the Eurasian Heartland and how important it is to American "global primacy":

"For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers and peoples who fought with one another for regional domination and reached out for global power. Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia - and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained."

He goes on to refine Mackinder's "Heartland" notion down to a specific area he calls the Eurasian Balkans. This area is precisely the Central Asia-Caucasus region. He explains its importance thus:

"The Eurasian Balkans, astride the inevitably emerging transportation network meant to link more directly Eurasia's richest and most industrious western and eastern extremities, are also geopolitically significant. Moreover, they are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold."

The use of the metaphor of the Balkans is doubly evocative for students of history; it represents not only the strife and ethnic conflict we saw in the "Balkanization" of Yugoslavia toward the end of the 20th century, but also the powder keg of tensions that ignited the First World War at the beginning of the 20th century. Brzezinski predicted that the first great war of the 21st century would take place in this area of the globe and four years later, in the first year of the 21st century, the United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan beginning an occupation that became the longest military operation in the history of America. Meet the New Great Game, same as the Old Great Game. This time it's NATO against China, Russia and what might be loosely termed a 'resistance bloc,' but the idea is almost the same: dominate Central Asia-Caucasus and use it as pivot point to dominate the world.

The Old and New Great Game are similar in many ways. The Old Great Game sprang from British fears that Russian incursion into Central Asia would threaten to topple their hold over the crown jewel of the British Empire, India; the New Great Game springs from the fear that Russian and/or Chinese dominance over Central Asia and the Caucasus would prevent NATO from achieving its goal of "full spectrum dominance." The Old Great Game involved the British invasion of Afghanistan in 1838 and attempt to install a puppet regime; the New Great Game involved the NATO invasion of Afghanistan and attempt to install a puppet regime. The Old Great Game relied heavily on espionage, spycraft and subterfuge to undermine Russia's sway over the Heartland; and as we shall see, the New Great Game also heavily relies on covert means to undermine Russian and Chinese influence in the region.


To understand the way that subterfuge is being used in the New Great Game today, we must first understand an important clandestine operation which is commonly known as "Operation Gladio."

In very broad and rough terms, "Operation Gladio" was a NATO plan to use "stay-behind" paramilitary armies to counter a potential Soviet invasion and occupation of Europe. Although this is the way that "Operation Gladio" is commonly understood today, almost every part of that description is technically incorrect.

Firstly "Operation Gladio" was not a name for the overall program, which involved 12 NATO member nations (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Turkey) and four neutral countries (Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland), but specifically its most famous incarnation in Italy. In Belgium the operation was codenamed "SDRA-8." Sweden had its "Projekt-26." In Greece it was "Lochos Oreinon Katadromon" and here in the Netherlands it was "GIIIC" later rebranded as "G7."

Secondly, the operation was not inherently a NATO one. It was first coordinated in 1948 by a trans-Atlantic body based in France known as the "Western Union Clandestine Committee." After the creation of NATO in 1949 the body was folded into the organization's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) under the revised name of the Clandestine Planning Committee. The plan's origins stretch back even further, arguably to the creation of British MI6's "Section D" in 1940, a ramshackle group of recruits from England's North Sea coast that would wage sabotage and guerrilla warfare in the event of a Nazi invasion of the British Isles. The central role of the CIA's "Office of Policy Coordination" and the Special Operations Branch of MI6 in establishing the operation, as well as the training of stay-behind forces alongside British SAS units at Fort Monckton and American Special Forces at the infamous School of the Americas, needs also to be stressed.

Thirdly, although the individual stay-behind programs were organized in Europe, the scope of their operations were not limited to Europe and strayed far from any supposed mandate to prepare for a Soviet invasion. As we shall see, "Gladio" operations included and include everything from drug running and money laundering to terror attacks and political assassinations.

I will not get into the specifics of how these stay-behind units operated in the various countries or the various incidents they have been implicated in. If any part of the "Gladio" story is well-known, it is the operations in Europe and their role in such events as Italy's "Years of Lead." These topics have been covered in great detail by very capable writers, filmmakers, historians and researchers, and I'll refer you to some of the most valuable English language resources on the overall program, including Allan Frankovitch's groundbreaking 1992 documentary, Gladio: The Ring Masters , Daniele Ganser's seminal work, NATO's Secret Armies , Richard Cottrell's Gladio: NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe , and the various resources available at sites like operation-gladio.net.

What is important for our study today is the strategic doctrine employed by the Gladio operations known as the "strategy of tension." This doctrine involves the creation, encouragement or exacerbation of political, religious, ethnic or other forms of conflict in order to incite fear in a population and manipulate public opinion. An oft-cited example of the strategy of tension are the "Years of Lead" that rocked Italy with a wave of terrorist atrocities from the 1969 bombing of the Piazza Fontana to the Bologna railway station bombing of 1980. The story of the links between NATO Gladio operations and the various paramilitary groups whose bombings, kidnappings and assassinations terrorized a nation is a fascinating one, but far too detailed for today's study. The takeaway point is that the national psychosis caused by spectacular terror attacks can be used to turn public opinion against certain groups and make actions that were formerly politically inconceivable virtually inevitable.

It is not difficult to see how this strategy could be used in some form in a region as linguistically, ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse and divisive as Central Asia and the Caucasus. Indeed, as Brzezinski points out in regards to his "Eurasian Balkans" concept:

"Every one of [the Eurasian Balkans] countries suffers from serious internal difficulties, all of them have frontiers that are either the object of claims by neighbors or are zones of ethnic resentment, few are nationally homogeneous, and some are already embroiled in territorial, ethnic, or religious violence."

With regards to the Central Asia-Caucasus region in particular, Gladio operations in Turkey are of primary importance. Noting that the Turkish Gladio operations relied on cooperation with the nationalistic, racist, baldly expansionist Pan-Turkism movement, Daniele Ganser describes the Turkish secret army as "more violent than that of any other stay-behind in Western Europe." He describes the origins of the Turkish stay-behind, known as "Counter-Guerrilla," this way:

"Under the headline 'The Origins of "Gladio" in Turkey' the Paris-based Intelligence Newsletter reported in 1990 that they had obtained 'one of the recently declassified original strategy documents engendering the Western European "stay-behind" or "Gladio" network: US Army General Staff's Top-Secret March 28, 1949 Overall Strategic Concepts.' In an adjoining document, JSPC 891/6, section 'Tab B,' a specific reference is made to Turkey highlighting how the Pan-Turkism movement could be exploited strategically by the United States. Turkey, according to the Pentagon document, is an 'extremely favourable territory for the establishment of both guerrilla units and Secret Army Reserves. Politically the Turks are strongly nationalistic and anti-Communistic, and the presence of the Red Army in Turks will cause national feeling to run high.' Intelligence Newsletter thereafter correctly related that the Turkish secret army called Counter-Guerrilla was run by the Special Warfare Department and consisted of five branches: 'Training Group, including interrogation and psychological warfare techniques; Special Unit, specialised since 1984 in anti-Kurd operations, Special Section, special operations in Cyprus; Coordination Group, also called the Third Bureau; and Administrative Section.'"

The violent atrocities committed by Counter-Guerrilla are beyond the scope of this investigation, but include a September 1955 'false flag' bombing of a key Turkish target in Greece which was blamed on the Greek police, participation in three military coups against Turkey's own government, the torture of political opponents in the torture villa of Erenköy, and assorted robberies, assassinations, kidnappings, sabotage, and other terrorist activities.

In the vicious Turkish nationalist movement, with its interest in uniting all of the Turkish peoples into one Pan-Turkic nation, NATO found a convenient ally in its quest to counter Soviet influence in the Caucasus region and to gain a toehold in the Eurasian Balkans. In order to understand how this alliance operated, let's examine one particular person who has been identified as one of the top Turkish "Gladiators": Abdullah Çatlı.

Probably the single most famous members of the Counter-Guerrilla, Abdullah Catli's remarkable and highly improbably career tells a story of assassinations, terror attacks, drug running, daring prison escapes and international intrigue outrageous enough to make even the most imaginative Hollywood script writer blush. Beginning as a petty street thug with the nationalist movement, Catli rose through the ranks to become a brutal enforcer for the dreaded Grey Wolves "youth organization" connected to the Turkish Gladio movement. By 1978 he had become the second in command of the organization and a top Counter-Guerrilla operative, implicated in multiple high-profile assassinations, including the murder of Abdi Ipekci, the country's most well-known newspaper editor. Forced underground by his growing notoriety, Catli became an important international Gladiator, participating in the 1981 assassination attempt of the Pope. He traveled with Italian Gladiator Stefano Della Chiaie to Latin America and Miami in 1982 and then headed to France where he planned the bombing of the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Alfortville, and the failed assassination attempt against activist Ara Toranian.

In 1984 it seemed that the long arm of the law had finally caught up with him. Paid by his Turkish intelligence handlers in heroin, Catli was arrested in Paris for drug trafficking and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. In 1988 he was sent to Switzerland, where he also wanted for drug trafficking, but in March 1990 he was sprung from prison in a nearly unbelievable prison break that involved the use of a helicopter. Le Monde Diplomatique in an explosive report on the Turkish deep state referred vaguely to the "mysterious accomplices" who helped him to escape, but others have specifically identified the escape helicopter as a NATO vehicle. In subsequent years, while still an international fugitive on INTERPOL's "Most Wanted" list and wanted by the authorities of multiple countries for a series of crimes, Catli returned to Turkey where he was recruited by the police for "special missions" and entered and exited the United Kingdom and the United States with complete impunity.

This is the character profile of a Gladio operative: a person above the law, working in support of something identified in Turkey as the "deep state" that transcends the ordinary rules, laws, or even the constitutions of any individual governments. In the case of the Turkish deep state, there is an intimate connection with the greater Gladio operation and the shadowy NATO and Pentagon operations branches associated with it.

Returning to the question of Gladio interference in the Central Asia-Caucasus area of operations, one lowlight from Catli's ignoble career is particularly instructive. In 1995 Catli participated in a planned coup attempt against Azerbaijani president Helmar Aliyev, the father of the country's current president. The planned assassination failed, but Catli (predictably) was not caught or brought to justice for his participation in the scheme. But while the assassination itself did not result in the death of Aliyev, it did have a desirable effect for NATO's designs on the South Caucasus. From that point on, Azerbaijan began to leave the diplomatic orbit of its old Soviet-era Russian masters and has since become a staunchly Western-oriented nation with an all-star roster of power players on its US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and ongoing projects with ChevronTexaco, BP, Pennzoil and other major oil conglomerates. In fact, the country has been a NATO partner and prospective member of the alliance for several years now, a potentially important NATO ally in Russia's backyard, and one with access to the prized Caspian oil and gas fields and pipelines.


But all careers, no matter how remarkable, come to an end, and the end of Abdullah Catli's career was, perhaps fittingly, as spectacular as his career itself.

At approximately 7:25 PM on the evening of November 3, 1996, a Mercedes 600 SEL crashed into a truck near the Northwestern Turkish town of Susurluk, killing three of the four passengers. But this was no ordinary car crash. Among the dead: a senior police chief, a former beauty queen, and Abdullah Catli. The survivor: a Turkish MP who came away with a fractured skull and a broken leg.

A 1998 L.A. Times report on the crash described the scene this way:

"Strewn amid the roadside wreckage was evidence of Catli's collusion with the Turkish secret service. Along with several handguns, silencers, a cache of narcotics and a government-approved weapons permit, Catli was carrying six photo ID cards, each with a different name, and special diplomatic credentials issued by Turkish authorities."

The importance of this crash to the course of Turkish politics is difficult to overstate. For many, it conclusively confirmed the "deep state" connections between terrorists like Catli and the upper reaches of governmental power that many had long believed existed. The resulting scandal led to a series of investigations and reports, as well as arrests, convictions, resignations, reforms, promotions, and the death of several Susurluk investigators in car crashes eerily similar to the Susurluk crash itself. And according to at least one key FBI whistleblower, Susurluk marks the beginning of a transition from the original Gladio operations using ultranationalist operatives and a Gladio "Plan B" involving Islamic terrorism as the conduit for the strategy of tension.

The whistleblower in question is Sibel Edmonds, hired by the FBI to work as a translator in the Washington field office in the wake of 9/11. She worked with agents around the United States helping to translate intercepted communications in a number of counterintelligence cases, including Agent Joel Roberts in the Chicago field office whose targets included Abdullah Catli and some of his Gladio associates. While there, one of the translators she was working with was Jan Dickerson, who had worked for both the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, organizations that the FBI publicly confirmed were targets of FBI counterintelligence operations. Her husband, Douglas Dickerson, was a Major in the US Air Force who had served in Ankara working on weapons procurement for the Pentagon in the Central Asian region. In December 2001 the Dickersons visited Edmonds and her husband at their home in Alexandria and attempted to recruit them into a Turkish spying ring that had penetrated the FBI, the Pentagon and the State Department. She refused and her complaints about the Dickersons and their involvement with Turkish lobbying groups eventually led to her firing. After years of fighting this dismissal and attempting to go on the record with her knowledge, first through official FBI channels and eventually through the court system, the FBI was eventually forced to admit that her claims had "some basis in fact," a judgement later bolstered by a Department of Justice's Inspector General report that concluded "many of Edmonds's core allegations relating to the co-worker were supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses other than Edmonds" and noting that "the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds's allegations" about Jan Dickerson's work problems. Despite all of this, a little-known evidentiary rule known as the "State Secrets Privilege" was invoked by the Justice Department to remove her First Amendment rights and prevent her from going on record about many of the specifics of her case. This led to her being labeled "the most gagged person in American history" by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Edmonds paints the story of the FBI's counterintelligence operations against a Gladio network that had contacts and operatives in the United States but protection from powerful Washington players like some of those on the board of the US-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce and similar organizations. After the turning point at Susurluk, these operations started to focus on Islamic terrorists and radicals, who presumably could equally well be used to maintain a strategy of tension and help accomplish foreign policy goals in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Again, it is important to look at the careers of some of those who have been identified as being part of this "Gladio B" operation. However, we have to note that unlike in the case of Abdullah Catli, we have no official, independent confirmations of the existence of this Gladio B network or its various operatives. Here we are relying on information in the public record which corroborates Edmonds claims and paints a vivid picture of the intersection between Muslim extremists, drug runners, terrorists and money launderers with the upper levels of the US State Department, Pentagon and NATO.

One such person is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Imam who fled political prosecution in Turkey for advocating that an Islamic state replace the existing Turkish government. Interestingly, he fled to the United States, eventually settling in Pennsylvania. He then set up an educational foundation, the "Gulen Movement" and within four years had opened up 350 madrasas in the Central Asia-Caucasus region. His network would go on to include Islamic schools in over 140 countries, with an estimated net worth of over $20 billion.

In January 2001 a Turkish prosecutor, citing an Ankara University report whose author was subsequently assassinated, claimed that "there is a link between Gulen and the CIA" which included agency help in securing passports for the school's English teachers in the Central Asia-Caucasus region. This claim was bolstered by former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes, whose memoirs revealed that 130 of these "English teachers" in Kygyzstan and Uzbekistan alone were actually CIA operatives, issued special diplomatic passports under a program codenamed "Friendship Bridge."

Interestingly, the Washington Post attempted to deny the allegations by seeking comment from Graham Fuller, who you might remember as the author of the "Central Asia: The New Geopolitics" report we referred to earlier. Fuller was a former CIA station chief in Kabul who claimed that the idea of a Gulen-CIA connection was "improbable" despite admitting he has "absolutely no concrete personal knowledge whatsoever about this." Even more interestingly, Fuller himself wrote a letter of reference for Gulen that was used in Gulen's ongoing legal battle over his immigration status in the US.

The remarkable rise of this Imam with no particular background or accomplishments to become the head of a multi-billion dollar Islamic school network operated from a secret compound in Pennsylvania that appears to be working with the CIA in the highly sensitive Central Asia-Caucasus region appears to fit in line with what we know about the "deep state" actors in the covert battle for influence in this highly prized square of the chessboard.

Another extremely interesting figure is Yasin Al-Qadi. He was an alleged financier of Islamic terror that was the subject of an intensive investigation by FBI Agent Robert Wright. Wright's investigation, codenamed "Vulgar Betrayal," discovered evidence that implicated Al-Qadi in a terrorist finance ring centered in Chicago that linked to the 1998 African embassy bombings, but when he proposed a criminal investigation, his supervisor flew into a rage, yelling "You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects." Wright was taken off the Vulgar Betrayal investigation one year later and the investigation itself was shut down the following year. In 1999 and 2000, the UN placed sanctions on Al-Qadi who was identified in UN Security Council resolutions as a suspected associate of Al-Qaeda.

At the same time, Al-Qadi was also a key investor in a company called Ptech, which marketed "enterprise architecture software" designed to provide complete god's eye views of an organization's structure, from transactions, systems and processes to inventory, transactions and personnel. Ptech's client list included some of the most sensitive databases in the country, including those of DARPA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the White House, the Navy, the Air Force, the FAA, and NATO. According to Ptech's own business plan, the company had a contract to work on modeling the FAA's "network management, network security, configuration management, fault management, performance management, application administration, network accounting management, and user help desk operations" that was operative on the morning of 9/11. After 9/11, Ptech's offices were raided and the company's CEO and CFO were eventually indicted, and Yasin Al-Qadi was placed on a special terrorist finance watchlist by the US Treasury Department.

Despite being watchlisted by both the UN Security Council and the US Treasury Department, Al-Qadi continued to operate internationally, with an Albanian passport and spending time in Turkey. He has since been revealed to have engaged in numerous meetings with then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish Intelligence Chief. Earlier this year the ex-Istanbul police chief revealed that Erdogan had helped Al-Qadi to enter the country several times despite being banned by the Cabinet.

Another figure of importance whose name comes up in connection with this investigation is Ayman Al-Zawahiri, formerly Bin Laden's right hand man and the current nominal leader of the Al-Qaeda organization. According to Edmonds he appeared as a figure in several FBI counterterrorism investigations in the 1990s, turning up in Turkey, Albania, Kosovo and Azerbaijan. His travels to the Balkans in the mid 1990s make sense given Al-Qaeda involvement in the so-called Yugoslav Wars, but his involvement in Turkey and Azerbaijan is of particular relevance to this study. Edmonds claims that he worked with the Turkish arm of NATO and NATO itself during this period, meeting several times with US military attaches in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Other tantalizing connections present themselves in figures like Hüseyin Baybaşin, known as "Europe's Pablo Escobar" for his heroin operations smuggling heroin to the UK. After his imprisonment here in the Netherlands for drug smuggling he contacted Edmonds with details about Turkish NATO involvement in the drug smuggling operations he had been a part of.

There are numerous such leads, connections and clues in this investigation that point to a deep NATO/US involvement in covert operations that tie back to this important area of the globe. But what does it all mean.


It would be a satisfying conclusion to this investigation to present to you the definitive proof, documents or testimony positively linking the increasingly deadly terror attacks and incidents taking place in the Central Asia-Caucasus region to a Gladio "Plan B" group being directed by NATO and the Pentagon. Everything that we have seen today has demonstrated that:

a) there are vital strategic interests for the US and its allies in the Central Asia-Caucasus that make it a prime target for covert operations;

b) such "strategy of tension" operations have been conducted in the past by people we definitively know were linked to NATO's covert army;

and c) that there are a number of influential people operating in and around the region and in close cooperation with the Turkish deep state, American intelligence, the Pentagon and NATO who seem to be involved with ongoing operations today related to the fostering of religious sectarianism in the region.

As I say, it would be a satisfying conclusion to definitively state that persons A, B or C were connected to events X, Y, or Z, but obviously this is not possible at this time. The very nature of these covert operations means that, without some explosive new evidence or surprising new testimony from other whistleblowers, it is unlikely that Gladio B will be revealed in the way the original Gladio operations were. This does not mean, however, that we are completely powerless to identify these operations or to counteract the psychological effects that they are aiming at producing in the public.

The characters, events and storyline painted in this presentation are almost completely available in the public record through various news reports, government investigations, think tank documents, court filings, interviews and dozens of other sources. Those parts of the story that cannot be independently verified, like some of Edmonds' claims, can be corroborated by the sources in the public record. The task of piecing these bits of the puzzle together is a nearly overwhelming one, but it can be accomplished by a concerted effort by an informed and motivated public.

This is the principal of "open source investigation" which I am attempting to further in my work at CorbettReport.com. Next week this lecture will be published to my website along with a hyperlinked transcript sourcing all of the documents, reports and other evidence used in the creation of this presentation. From that point, the public is encouraged to use that source information to begin investigating other aspects of this case and to see how this narrative meshes or clashes with other pieces of evidence in the public record. Members of The Corbett Report community are of course invited to participate in this investigation by posting their own comments, analysis, links and replies on the posting of this lecture at CorbettReport.com.

This task is critical because in the quest to control the resources of the Central Asia-Caucasus region, a strategy of tension is being employed. We see a nearly daily parade of terror attacks in the Northern Caucasus region on Russia's doorstep and in the "New Silk Road" area of Chinese interest. Just this month, the head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (often seen as a counterbalance organization to NATO) claimed that instability in the region was being deliberately fostered by the West, citing a disproportionate increase in US embassy staff and influx of Western-backed NGOs into the region. "The West crudely interferes in the internal affairs of other governments, trying to manipulate public opinion, economically and financially affecting the government and population," he said.

If this is indeed the case, then one of the key ways to counteract this effect is to simply retain our skepticism when it comes to spectacular terror attacks in the region. With an increased awareness of covert operations, false flag attacks, and other acknowledged instruments of terror in the strategy of tension, we thereby disarm the effectiveness of these tools. The psychological manipulation that these geopolitical machinations rely on is only possible if the populace is kept in fear and ignorance, and the answer to that can only be understanding and openness.

Thank you for your time.

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Jon Stewart calls Andrea Tantaros' 'awesome' rant "most ridiculous thing I've ever heard"

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host Jon Stewart dissected Fox News Andrea Tantaros' argument that the discussion surrounding the CIA's torture of detainees was being fueled politically to cast the U.S. as not being "awesome."

"First of all, this administration doesn't want us to have this discussion," Stewart said. "And also, that's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard."

On Tuesday, Tantaros and her fellow panelists accused Senate Democrats of releasing the report detailing abuses levied against detainees following the 9/11 attacks in an effort to make the country look bad.

"The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome," Tantaros said at the time. "But we've had this discussion. We've closed the book on it, and we've stopped doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we're not awesome."

Correspondent Hasan Minhaj stepped in as a surrogate for Tantaros, telling Stewart he thought her rant was "awesome," as well.

"It reminds me of our national anthem," Minhaj said, before playing a clip of "" from "I'm pretty sure that it's supposed to be ironic," Stewart told Minhaj.

"It is not fair to hold us to an impossible standard like 'never torture,'" Minhaj responded, adding "air quotes."

Stewart then pointed out that it was the U.S. who set that standard, as defined in the United Nations' Convention Against Torture. He highlighted Article 2 of the document, which states that "no exceptional circumstances" exist allowing a country to justify torture.

"Signed in 1988 by no shrinking violet, President Ronald Reagan," Stewart argued. "We signed that."

Minhaj retorted by saying the U.S. signs "ton of sh*t."

"Look at the Declaration of Independence - we wrote, 'All men were created equal,' while we had slaves," he told Stewart. "That was pretty awesome."

Watch the discussion, as posted online on Wednesday, below.

[embedded content]

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Duck and cover: The lull is breaking, the storm is nigh

September 15, 2008 is the day that Lehman died and the moment that the world's central banks led by the Fed went all-in. As it has turned out, that was an epochal leap into the most dangerous monetary deformation that the world has ever known.

It needn't have been. What was really happening at this pregnant moment was that the remnants of honest capital markets were begging for a purge and liquidation of the speculative rot that had built up during the Greenspan era. But the phony depression scholar running the Fed, Ben Bernanke, would have none of it. So he falsely whooped-up a warning that Great Depression 2.0 was at hand - sending Washington, Wall Street and the rest of the world into an all-out panic.

The next day's AIG crisis quickly became ground zero - the place where the entire fraudulent narrative of systemic "contagion" was confected. Yet that needn't have been, either. In truth, AIG was not the bearer of a mysterious financial contagion that had purportedly arrived on a comet from deep space.

As subsequent history has now proven, AIG's $800 billion globe spanning balance sheet at the time was perfectly solvent at the subsidiary level. Not a single life insurance contract, P&C cover or retirement annuity anywhere in the world was in jeopardy on the morning of September 16th.

The only thing gone awry was that the London-based CDS (credit default swap) operation of AIG's holding company was monumentally illiquid. Joseph Cassano and the other latter-day geniuses who were running it had spent two decades picking up nickels (CDS premium) in front of a steamroller, while booking nearly the entirety of these winnings as profits - all to the greater good of their fabulous bonuses.

But now, as the underlying securitized mortgage market imploded, they needed to meet huge margin calls on insurance contracts they had written against mortgage CDOs. In truth, however, the whole mountain of CDS was bogus insurance because AIG's holding company did not have a legal call on the hundreds of billions of cash and liquid assets ensconced in dozens of its major subsidiaries.

From a legal and cash flow point of view, Hank Greenberg's mighty insurance empire was essentially a mutual fund. Cassano and his posse had been implicitly pledging assets (via AIG's corporate or consolidated AAA rating) that belonged to someone else - namely, the insurance subsidiaries and the state insurance commissioners who effectively controlled them.

Yet this scandalous fact was not a world crisis, nor really any crisis at all. Yes, the several hundred billions of CDS contracts sold by the Cassano London operation were bogus and could not be paid off - since the holding company had no available liquid capital. Nevertheless, they had been purchased almost entirely by a dozen or so of the largest banks in the world, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Societe Generale, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, to name a few of the usual suspects. And as I documented in The Great Deformation, these banks could have readily afforded the hit on the underlying CDOs - and they deserved it too.

As to the former point, the combined balance sheet of the impacted big banks was about $20 trillion at the time, and the potential loss on the CDS contracts that AIG's holding company could not fund was perhaps $80 billion at the outside. After all, most of the CDO paper which these mega-banks had purchased and then magically transformed into AAA credits (and thereby could hold without posting a dime of capital) consisted of the so-called "super-senior" tranches. The really nasty crud at the bottom of the CDO capital structures - which did generate deep losses - had been pawned off to institutional investors and trust funds for Norwegian fishing villages and the like.

So the day of reckoning for AIG's CDS fraud presented no danger to the world's banking system. The loss might have amounted to 0.5% of their combined footings - a one-time hit that Wall Street brokers would have counseled to ignore and which might have zapped banker bonuses for the next year or even less.

And those foolish bankers did need to be punished for negligence, stupidity and unseemly greed. In point of fact, Cassano was never indicted for his bulging book of bogus CDS insurance because it amounted to fraud in plain sight. Any one who read AIG's 10K could have seen that the consolidated balance sheet of AIG was riddled with dividend stoppers and capital conservation limits imposed by the insurance regulators at the subsidiary level. Cassano never, ever had the cash to meet margin calls or pay-off the supposedly remote risk of actual claims; his policies had been purchased all along by the proverbial greater fools.

But this calamity of stupidity and negligence has turned out to be a really big thing in the history of the modern financial era; it was indeed the Rubicon. By falsely transforming a negligible hit to the balance sheet of the world's mega-banks - most of which were quasi-socialist institutions in Europe and would have been bailed out by their governments anyway - into the alleged collapse of the mighty AIG, Secretary Paulson, Bernanke and their cabal of Wall Street henchman opened the door in one fell swoop to the present global monetary madness.

At that fraught moment in time, AIG was the financial gold standard - the massive AAA balance sheet that anchored the entire financial market. So when out of the blue - literally without even a few days notice to even the attentive public - it had apparently descended into a $180 billion black hole, the myth of systemic breakdown and all-consuming financial "contagion" was not only born; it gained instant resonance throughout Wall Street and Washington.

The rest is history, as they say. And what a fantastic, but lamentable history it was. Owing to the cursed recency bias that now animates the mainstream narrative, it has already been forgotten that today's elephantine central bank balance sheets did not remotely exist just six years ago. Indeed, they could not have been imagined back then - not even by Bernanke himself.

But upon the eruption of the AIG catalyst, the mad money printing dash was on. As shown below, it had taken the first 94 years of the Fed's existence to grow its balance sheet footings to $900 billion - something achieved by steadily plucking new credits out of thin air over the years and decades. But within six weeks of the so-called AIG meltdown, Bernanke had replicated what had taken his predecessors nigh on to a century to accomplish.

And then he didn't stop. Fighting the fabricated enemy of "contagion" and thereby thwarting Wall Street's desperate need for a cleansing financial enema, he had nearly tripled the Fed's historic balance sheet by year-end 2008, and on it went from there.

And of course it was not just the Fed running the printing presses red hot. Owing to both Keynesian ideology and defensive necessity, the other major central banks of the world followed suit. At the time of the crisis, the combined balance sheet of the Fed, ECB and BOJ was $3.5 trillion or about 11% of GDP. In short order that number will reach $11 trillion and 30% of the combined GDP of the so-called G-3.

Throw in the BOE, the People's Printing Press of China, the bloated central banks of the oil exporters and Russia and assorted others like the reserve banks of India and Australia and you have total central banks footings in excess of $16 trillion or roughly triple the pre-crisis level.

This tsunami of central bank credit did little for the real economy in places where the private sector was already at "peak debt" such as the US and Europe; and it did fuel one final blast of the malinvestment boom in places that still had balance sheet runway available like China, Brazil and much of the rest of the EM world.

But what it did do universally and thunderously was to fuel a financial asset inflation the likes of which the world had never before seen.

Prior to their recent stumble, the combined equity markets of the world had reached a capitalization of nearly $75 trillion compared to barely $25 trillion at the dark bottom in March 2009. And, yes, $50 trillion of gain in a comparative historical heartbeat did wonders for the net worth of the global 1%.

But it also did something else; it destroyed the remaining vestiges of financial market stability and honest price discovery. After 6-years of the central bank tsunami, two-way markets were gone; the shorts were dead; skeptics were out of business; greybeard investors had retired; speculators regularly bought downside "protection" (i.e. puts on the S&P 500) for chump change; and the law of "buy the dips" became unassailable.

Even more crucially, capital markets were transformed into rank casinos that were virtually devoid of all economic information......except, except the word clouds, leaks and sound bites of central bank speakers and their tools in the press and monitors in the banks, brokerage houses and hedge funds. At length, this meant that the only reason to buy was that virtually every risk asset class was rising; and it also meant that the only risk worth worrying about in a day-trading market was from the verbal emissions of central bankers and their Wall Street accomplices and stooges.

So as long as the central bank con job lasted, there was no reason not to buy, buy, buy. The financial world's greatest clown, Jim Cramer of CNBC, became a prophet in his own time. Indeed, the man's stupendous insouciance became embedded in the casino itself.

And the VIX is the smoking gun of proof. Over the span of approximately 72 months, the world's raging central bankers simply drove risk right out of the casino.

Except they didn't actually banish financial risk; they just drove it underground. When every financial asset is rising, the casino creates its own marginable collateral. Yesterday's gain becomes tomorrow's repo and re-hypothecated security against the next day's round of buying. And as long as asset values are inflating, the inherent risk in these daisy chains is muffled and discounted.

Yet that's exactly why the present mother of all financial bubbles is so dangerous and palpably unstable. The marginal "bid" is dependent upon wildly inflated collateral which is tucked away in the warp and woof of the entire global financial system. When the Chinese stock market hit a 5.5% air pocket within a few minutes two nights ago, for example, it was because the financial authorities there said icksnay to the repo of bonds issued by essentially bankrupt local development agencies.

Stated differently, there are financial time bombs planted everywhere in the world economy because central bank financial repression has caused drastic mispricing of nearly every class of financial asset, which is to say, every layer of collateral which has ratcheted-up the entire edifice.

As the redoubtable Ambrose Evans-Prichard so cogently noted, central bank ZIRP has radically compressed the debt markets of the world. This means that cap rates - the basis for valuation of tens of trillions of fixed income securities and real estate around the world - are now so aberrantly low as to be downright stupid:

What is clear is that the world has become addicted to central bank stimulus. Bank of America said 56pc of global GDP is currently supported by zero interest rates, and so are 83pc of the free-floating equities on global bourses. Half of all government bonds in the world yield less that 1pc. Roughly 1.4bn people are experiencing negative rates in one form or another.

Needless to say, this drastic central bank driven financial repression has unleashed a mindless pursuit of "yield" or short-term trading gains that give the concept of "irrational exuberance" an entirely new definition. Consider for example, the hapless mutual fund investors or institutional managers who have been buying energy sector CLOs. What is the collateral for the 5% yields advertised by these fly-by-night funds - often issued and managed by the same folks who sold housing sector CLOs and CDOs last time around?

Why its the leveraged loans issued by E&P operators in the shale patches. The collateral for these leveraged loans, in turn, is shale rocks 4,000-9,000 feet down under that have been worthless until approximately 2005 and would be worthless today without dramatically over-priced crude oil and drastically underpriced debt capital.

That is to say, the vaunted collateral in the shale patch craps out after about two-years unless new money is poured down the well bore and oil prices are above $75-$80 per barrel on the WTI marker price to cushion the sharp discounts back to the wellhead. But with marker price now plunging into the $50s, the drilling will soon stop, the production will crap-out, the shale rock collateral value will regress toward the zero bound, the E&P borrowers will default, the energy CLO's will implode and the hapless yield chasers will be left high, dry and panicked.

Cannot the same thing be said of Italian bonds at 2%? As reminded below, the Italian economy has not grown for six years, its debt-to-GDP ratio has gone critical and its political system is disintegrating.

So from whence did the "bid" arise after Draghi's "whatever it takes" ukase, which in just 24 months drove the yield on this sovereign junk from 7% to 2%?

Well, it came from its own bootstraps, that's what. The front-running speculators who backed up their trucks to Draghi's pronouncement where not sitting on a pile of cash looking for "value". Instead, they bought a pile of Italian bonds and then margined their purchases in the repo market. Yes, central bank ZIRP means essentially zero cost of carry; its the source of the bid that never asks whether 2% is enough. When bonds are held by the day or even hour, its far more than enough as long as the repo can be rolled and bond prices keep inflating.

Until they don't. Are the international dollar bonds of Turkish banks - one example of the $9 trillion EM debt market - issued against their loan books any different? Just consider the daisy chain of collateral there. Istanbul is comprised of miles of empty apartment and commercial buildings which are collateral for the Turkish bank loans. Yet what is the equity of the real estate developer borrowers of these generously leveraged loans - other than their "investments" in the Erdogan regime? More often than not its the down-payments on newly built space made by speculators who borrowed the money from the very same banks.

Indeed, in a ZIRP world the collateral chains extend so deep into the netherworld of speculation that no one can possibly trace them. That is, until after they erupt. Then we will learn all about the "risk" that was driven below the surface during the great bubble of the past 6 years just like we did in September 2008.

In short, what is happening now is that risk is coming out of hiding; the collateral chains are buckling; the financial time bombs are beginning to explode.

There is nothing especially new about this development - its the third occurrence this century. But there is possibly something different this time around the block.

This time the carnage could be much worse because the most recent tsunami of central bank credit was orders of magnitude larger and more virulent than during the run-up to the Lehman event or the dotcom implosion.

Moreover, the central banks are now out of dry powder - impaled on the zero-bound. That means any resort to a massive new round of money printing can not be disguised as an effort to "stimulate" the macro-economy by temporarily driving interest rates to "extraordinarily" low levels. They are already there.

Instead, a Bernanke style balance sheet explosion like that which stopped the financial meltdown in the fall and winter of 2008-2009 will be seen for exactly what it is - an exercise in pure monetary desperation and quackery.

So duck and cover. This storm could be a monster.

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